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Life after graduation, Hiring on Handshake

More than lipstick: why to consider the beauty industry for your tech career, according to L’Oréal

L’Oréal’s VP of Talent Acquisition shares how the company uses the latest tech to build personal connections with beauty enthusiasts.

If you’re planning to pursue a path in computer science, you’ve probably done your fair share of research into big-name tech companies, and maybe even digital-focused government agencies. But you should consider another avenue for kicking off your career: the beauty industry. The beauty industry is an unsung hotspot for technical innovation, and award-winning employer L’Oréal (also the world’s largest beauty company) is leading the pack. From creating exciting activations with augmented and virtual reality to harnessing data to provide personalized customer experiences, L’Oréal has embraced new technology — and is majorly investing in its tech talent workforce to stay ahead of the curve.

Having led various talent acquisition teams at L’Oréal for over a decade, Group VP of Talent Acquisition Emma Shuttleworth has a keen insight into the exciting opportunities L’Oréal has to offer the next generation of engineers, scientists, developers, and other tech talent. We sat down with her to hear all about why tech jobseekers should consider starting their careers in beauty, the cutting-edge technology L’Oréal’s tech hires get to touch, and the killer opportunities available for interns and recent grads on Handshake. (No passion for skincare and makeup required!)

Group of young people with text reading "Join us to create the beauty that moves the world"

Tech’s impact on the beauty industry

Handshake: As a talent acquisition leader within L’Oréal for nearly a decade, how has recruiting and retaining tech talent changed?

Emma Shuttleworth, L’Oréal Talent Acquisition: We started to amplify our recruiting efforts within the tech and digital space in 2014 as John Paul Agon announced the digital transformation and appointed an extraordinary female leader from outside the group to take charge and drive change. The transformation was multi-dimensional, delivering a huge global project of upskilling our employees. As you would imagine, we had a huge change management campaign tackling a number of topics including ways of working and a mindset shift, not an easy task for 85K+ employees worldwide. Convincing tech and digital experts to join a beauty company that they thought just sold lipsticks and shampoos was, of course, one of the hardest tasks. We needed to shift the mindset and solidify L’Oréal as a beauty tech company: beauty for all, powered by tech, which was a new concept. We’ve successfully cultivated a transformative mindset, evolving into a renowned beauty tech company. As such, our Global CEO, Nicolas Hieronimus, is delivering the first-ever beauty company keynote at the Consumer Electronics Show in 2024.

Handshake: How has technology transformed the beauty industry in the past 10, five, and even last year?

L’Oréal: We are a company that is constantly growing, and the tech community has seen the most growth in the past five to 10 years. We now have over 2,000 tech experts worldwide focused on 40+ fields within the tech space (digital accessibility, cybersecurity, cloud, infrastructure, data scientists, software engineers, product owners, project leads, tech analytics, among many others). We have 3500+ digital experts worldwide with 20+ different expertise (i.e., CRM, media, platforms & products) and over 1500+ employees that focus on eCommerce alone. Through this growth, we are also able to offer different products and services to our consumers, at the right time on the right platform. At the same time, through our own technology incubator, we have developed award-winning devices and services to better not only people’s lives, but the planet. Some examples include: HAPTA by Lancôme, a stabilizing makeup applicator that allows anyone with mobility issues to apply lipstick, La Roche-Posay Spotscan, an acne analysis tool, K-Scan by Kerastase, a hair diagnostic tool, Water Saver by L’Oreal Professionel and Swiss startup, Gjosa – a new showerhead that saves 69% of water in salons.

Handshake: What do you wish more people understood about technology’s role at a company like L’Oréal?

L’Oréal: The mission of our company is to create the beauty that moves the world. The world is about the essentiality of beauty. It’s about the fact that beauty can provide a lever to show the world what you want about yourself. You don’t need to be obsessed with beauty products, but you do need to find beauty in the scientific research to develop skincare products, in elevating our e-commerce capabilities to soon represent 50% of our global turnover, or in building relationships with the most innovative startups in the world. We are rethinking our infrastructure, platforms, architecture, and ways of working. Finally, in my role, I spend my time decoding what a career at L’Oréal can do for you both professionally and personally, across all areas, but especially in tech right now as it’s having accelerated growth and is a great place to test and learn.

L’Oréal as a beauty-tech hotspot

The brand’s laser-focus on leading the beauty world’s technical revolution hasn’t gone unnoticed by applicants on Handshake. There are tons of opportunities for tech talent in jobs, internships, and management training programs at L’Oréal! Handshake saw STEM applicant growth to job postings from L'Oréal increase by 73% year-over-year in 2023, and the number of tech majors applicants during the same period increased by 137%.

Handshake: Do you consider L’Oréal a tech company?

L’Oréal: Absolutely. We have such a diverse range of roles available among our 36 brands rooted in a century of innovation and that now extends to augmented beauty and open innovation. We’re financial analysts, DevOps engineers, data scientists and e-Commerce experts that register over 500 new patents each year! We have access to the best technology and partners from universities, startups and companies who help us develop the most innovative, cutting-edge technologies.

Handshake: Why is it vital to be investing in tech talent now—especially for non-tech industries?

L’Oréal: We have been investing in tech talent for more than 10 years and we will continue to accelerate, competing with the big tech players for talent via new products and stages, like the Consumer Electronics Show – the largest tech conference in the world – where we debut products every year When people enter L’Oréal, they see we have multiple brands across makeup, haircare and skincare under one roof, whether you’re a tech or digital expert or generalist, the playground is like no other in which to learn and grow. Simultaneously, your potential for making a substantial and widespread impact is significant, you have the financial investment and group support to autonomously pursue projects, fostering innovation and a safe environment for experimentation, which is a driving force for retention.

Opportunities for today’s applicants

Handshake: What role do you see Gen Z tech talent playing at L’Oréal?

Emma Shuttleworth, L’Oréal:We are wholeheartedly committed to fostering an inclusive atmosphere, welcoming individuals of all ethnicities, social backgrounds, ages, religions, genders, sexual orientations and abilities. This philosophy extends to Gen-Z as well, where we’ve established dedicated groups to express their perspectives, trends and ideas, granting them a platform for meaningful input. Moreover, we ensure that every voice is not only heard but also esteemed, valued, and respected in our daily operations.

Handshake: You are passionate about upskilling and training to retain, can you tell us more about L’Oréal’s programs and philosophies around that?

L’Oréal: We have a philosophy at L’Oréal that the journey of learning and upskilling is perpetual. This principle applies seamlessly to our tech community, each of which is equipped with a tailor-made development pathway. We provide them with unfettered access to resources such as a Tech and Data University, Digital Upskilling program and E-Commerce University. Career growth is a paramount focus, underscored by our commitment to frequent coaching discussions, backed by substantial investments in both time and financial resources.

Handshake: What kinds of tech roles are the biggest priority for you right now?

L’Oréal: We don’t single out one specific role; our emphasis is on the holistic development of our tech positions. We are in a constant state of expansion, seeking to augment our teams with fresh talents and further enrich the collective skills and knowledge within our group. Numerous opportunities are available, and we’re on the lookout for curious and passionate individuals with an entrepreneurial mindset. In return, we are dedicated to collaborating with them in crafting a unique career trajectory that suits their aspirations.

Handshake: What advice do you have for tech talent who are interested in launching their careers within industries like beauty?

L’Oréal: Why hesitate? The opportunity is here, and it’s rapidly evolving. At L’Oréal, we are working to shift the perception students have of L’Oréal and make them aware of all the job opportunities in areas as diverse as manufacturing, supply chain, packaging development, sourcing, product development and data science. We recently activated a campaign across the globe titled, “Tech’timonials,” which calls for all innovators and disruptors to reinvent the future of beauty through highlighting testimonials from tech and engineering talent. You can take your career in many directions of the business, upskilling yourself from all angles and are given the freedom to leave your comfort zone and grow to your true potential at an international level. I encourage you to jump in, remain open-minded and have a growth mindset.

Take the next step

Interested in taking the leap and applying for a beauty-tech role with L’Oréal? Follow them on Handshake to get notified about the latest job and internship opportunities, get reminded about application deadlines, and attend L’Oréal’s digital and on-campus events. You can also check out L’Oréal’s Diverse Leaders Fellowship program, which focuses on bringing together diverse student leaders and providing them with access, education, and mentorship as they kick off their careers with L’Oréal.

Header image by freestocks on Unsplash, in-line image courtesy of L'Oréal

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